Google Docs, the company's cloud-based productivity suite, suffered an outage of almost an hour on Wednesday afternoon.
The downtime began around 2.35pm Pacific Time (PT), according to ZDNet UK sister site CNET News.com. The Google Apps status dashboard shows a message from 3.19pm PT, stating that the problem "should be resolved" and apologising for the inconvenience caused by the outage.
Google Docs comprises a word processor, as well as spreadsheet, presentation and drawing tools, all of which were brought down in the outage. The company has not yet provided any explanation for what happened.
Such outages happen from time to time, for a variety of network- and datacentre-related reasons. Similar occurrences in 2008 and 2009 led to discussions about the reliability of cloud computing. As services such as Google Docs rely on connectivity and remote storage and processing, control over uptime is taken out of the user's hands.
Conversely, though, there are many benefits to cloud computing. Perhaps ironically, Google's enterprise team posted a blog on Wednesday entitled "Gmail: It's cooler in the cloud", in which they claimed Gmail could be up to 80 times more power-efficient than companies' in-house systems. Other advantages include the ability to access and manipulate data from multiple devices, and to leave patching and security maintenance to the cloud service provider.